Ace ANY Job Interview- 10 Proven Steps For All Skill Levels

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Recruiting College Athletes to Wall Street

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Drum Associates Carly Drum-O'Neill discusses the business benefit of participating in college sports with Deirdre Bolton on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves." (Source: Bloomberg)

Drum Associates Launches Encore Career Services

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With 50 years of experience in the business, Drum Associates has worked with thousands of individuals at all levels to prepare them and place them in to their next job. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day, we’ve found an influx in interest from these baby boomers to help them find their next career, or their “encore career”. Whether it is to keep them engaged and challenged, fill their time, provide them with income so they can have a healthy retirement, or all of the above – we work with these individuals to prepare them for the job search and, of course, ultimately place them into a position that matches their skills set and interests. We find that our clients have a genuine interest in these job seekers, as they offer a level of maturity, a wealth of experience, a strong network, and a true enjoyment for the workplace. We’ve found that at the same time there has been an increase in interest from companies who are looking to fill part-time and remote positions (which is exactly what this candidate base is looking for). It allows the encore career candidates to continue working and earn an income, yet also have time to spend with their family.

Drum is offering Coaching services along with placement services. Our information can be found on our website at

If you are a hiring manager or HR professional who would like to learn more, please call us at 212-233-7550.

How to Have an Effective Performance Discussion (Part 2)

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As promised in last week’s blog, today I’m sharing tips on how to have an effective performance discussion, from the employee’s perspective. Being the receiver of performance feedback is a very difficult role, and I hope that the below tips can help you prepare and be an active contributor during the conversation. Remember, you want this to be a discussion so I encourage you to participate as much as you can!

(1) Participate. Be an active contributor to the discussion, don’t be afraid to share your feedback and comments.
(2) Bring a list of Questions. This is the formal time where you can get any questions off your chest about your role on the team. Discuss the roles and responsibilities and how your accomplishments compare to the goals that were set out for you.
(3) Set Expectations. This is a great time to discuss the future. Specifically, promotion or expansion of responsibilities. Be sure to express your 12-month and 24-month goals. And ask your manager how you can be in a position to get promoted to the next level.
(4) Don’t be afraid to disagree. If you disagree with feedback or a rating, handle it in a professional way. Have supporting evidence as to why you disagree. Mention specific accomplishments that would counter the feedback from your manager. Just remember to handle it in a very mature way, you don’t want to come across the wrong way.
(5) Be prepared to hear some hard truths. Enter this conversation with an open mind. Remember that constructive feedback is a wonderful thing that your manager can give you. It’s your opportunity to get someone else’s perspective on your work. Work with your manager to overcome any challenges or weaknesses that you may have.
-Allison Kolmer, Drum Associates

How to Have an Effective Performance Discussion

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In my decade long career at a major financial services firm, I had the opportunity to be both the giver and recipient of formal performance feedback. I also coached managers and analysts on how to effectively have these difficult conversations. Here are my tips to a manager for having an effective performance discussion. Next week’s blog will be aimed to the employee receiving the feedback.

• You shouldn’t be sharing anything NEW during a formal performance discussion; a good manager should give ongoing, informal feedback to their employees at all times (outside of the formal feedback discussion)
• The manager’s expectations should always be set in advance of any formal performance discussion. When the employee begins working for you, or when the new calendar year begins, you should share the expectations with him/her
• Same goes for the employee’s goals. These should be outlined well in advance so that you can measure the employee’s accomplishments against these specific goals. You should work with the employee to establish these measurable goals
• The performance review should be a conversation. Check to make sure your employee understands your comments and see if he/she has questions or feedback. It’s important that this is discussion and not just you talking at your employee
• Your attitude and delivery of the feedback is critical with how the information will be received by your employee. Stay positive and suggest ways on how you can work with the employee on strengthening their areas of development
• And remember…provide examples. You can’t give feedback without meaningful examples to support your thoughts. An employee will want to hear that you recognize their hard work, but they will also want to know about the specific ways they may have fallen short in some areas
-Allison Kolmer, Drum Associates

Action Words for your Resume

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A recruiter initially looks at a resume for a few seconds. It’s important that you make your resume stand out by using strong, powerful verbs at the beginning of each bullet point. Below is a list to help you. And if you’d like us to review your resume, please reach out to us at 212-233-7550 or

Other words for “led”
1. Chaired
2. Controlled
3. Coordinated
4. Executed
5. Headed
6. Operated
7. Orchestrated
8. Organized
9. Oversaw
10. Planned
11. Produced
12. Programmed
Other words for “created”
13. Administered
14. Built
15. Charted
16. Created
17. Designed
18. Developed
19. Devised
20. Founded
21. Engineered
22. Established
23. Formalized
24. Formed
25. Formulated
26. Implemented
27. Incorporated
28. Initiated
29. Instituted
30. Introduced
31. Launched
32. Pioneered
33. Spearheaded
Other words for “saved money”:
34. Conserved
35. Consolidated
36. Decreased
37. Deducted
38. Diagnosed
39. Lessened
40. Reconciled
41. Reduced
42. Yielded
Other words for “increasing efficiency or sales”
43. Accelerated
44. Achieved
45. Advanced
46. Amplified
47. Boosted
48. Capitalized
49. Delivered
50. Enhanced
51. Expanded
52. Expedited
53. Furthered
54. Gained
55. Generated
56. Improved
57. Lifted
58. Maximized
59. Outpaced
60. Stimulated
61. Sustained
Other words for “improved” or “changed”
62. Centralized
63. Clarified
64. Converted
65. Customized
66. Influenced
67. Integrated
68. Merged
69. Modified
70. Overhauled
71. Redesigned
72. Refined
73. Refocused
74. Rehabilitated
75. Remodeled
76. Reorganized
77. Replaced
78. Restructured
79. Revamped
80. Revitalized
81. Simplified
82. Standardized
83. Streamlined
84. Strengthened
85. Updated
86. Upgraded
87. Transformed
Other words for “managed”
88. Aligned
89. Cultivated
90. Directed
91. Enabled
92. Facilitated
93. Fostered
94. Guided
95. Hired
96. Inspired
97. Mentored
98. Mobilized
99. Motivated
100. Recruited
101. Regulated
102. Shaped
103. Supervised
104. Taught
105. Trained
106. Unified
107. United
Other words for “brought on partners”
108. Acquired
109. Forged
110. Navigated
111. Negotiated
112. Partnered
113. Secured
Other words for “supported”
114. Advised
115. Advocated
116. Arbitrated
117. Coached
118. Consulted
119. Educated
120. Fielded
121. Informed
122. Resolved
Other words for “researched”
123. Analyzed
124. Assembled
125. Assessed
126. Audited
127. Calculated
128. Discovered
129. Evaluated
130. Examined
131. Explored
132. Forecasted
133. Identified
134. Interpreted
135. Investigated
136. Mapped
137. Measured
138. Qualified
139. Quantified
140. Surveyed
141. Tested
142. Tracked
Other words for “communicated”
143. Authored
144. Briefed
145. Campaigned
146. Co-authored
147. Composed
148. Conveyed
149. Convinced
150. Corresponded
151. Counseled
152. Critiqued
153. Defined
154. Documented
155. Edited
156. Illustrated
157. Lobbied
158. Persuaded
159. Promoted
160. Publicized
161. Reviewed
Other words for “oversaw”
162. Authorized
163. Blocked
164. Delegated
165. Dispatched
166. Enforced
167. Ensured
168. Inspected
169. Itemized
170. Monitored
171. Screened
172. Scrutinized
173. Verified
Other words for “achieved”
174. Attained
175. Awarded
176. Completed
177. Demonstrated
178. Earned
179. Exceeded
180. Outperformed
181. Reached
182. Showcased
183. Succeeded
184. Surpassed
185. Targeted

Take a Risk…

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Change can be scary and so can uncertainty. One thing I have learned is that you should never rule out possible opportunities because you are scared or you don’t know much about it. In the past 3 years, I have lived on my own in Italy, Spain, and South Korea. I have changed jobs, become an Aunt, and moved into a new apartment. Needless to say, there have been a lot of changes for me lately. One of the scariest opportunities came when I was offered to play professional basketball in South Korea, but this also meant going to a whole new world and going on my own.

All of the thoughts and ideas I had in my head about South Korea and being that far away frightened me. But I took a chance and I said yes. Still today, this was one of the best decisions I could have made. Not only did I see a whole new part of the world, but it was amazing. It was nothing like I thought it would be and way more than I ever could have imagined. I learned about a new culture, I saw things I never thought existed and I had an overall awesome experience. I also learned a lot about myself and was forced to adapt in a different world. South Korea was so foreign to me, it was a scary thought but something inside me told me to go for it and I was right. I am not saying taking a crazy risk will always turn out right but there are so many opportunities people pass up because they are unknown or they don’t “seem” like the right fit.

I encourage you to dive deeper, be open minded to new experiences, people, places, careers and opportunities. Look at every opening as a chance to learn, grow and experience new things. Think of career changes as a new way to meet people, a new challenge and a chance to grow yourself. Not everything is as it looks on paper so take a chance to really see what is there.

-Tricia Liston, Drum Associates

The Competitive Edge

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Being competitive is not something that can be taught. Most athletes were born with this competitive edge or developed it over time as they grew up in their respective sports. It is something that drives us to find a way to be successful, no matter what adversity we face. This is just one of many reasons why athletes have been and will continue to be very successful when entering the work force after their days of playing are done. Athletes know and understand the process of things; that practice makes your performance better and that things are not given to you if you don’t work hard for them. They welcome a challenge and very seldom back down from one. They have experienced failure and know how to handle it and move forward. Although the initial transition from the field to the office will be completely new, most athletes, because of their competitive nature, will not only make it work but will succeed. Being competitive is a trait that is transferable from the court/field into the office, and it is an invaluable trait to have. So, for all of the athletes out there who are soon to enter the office, embrace your competitive nature, welcome the new task ahead, and be confident in what you have learned through your sport.

-Tricia Liston, Drum Associates

Recognize this one thing and it will get you where you need to go

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As you’re reading this, think about someone you’re close to – a colleague, your boss, a direct report, or hey – maybe your spouse or in-laws. If you were to explain them in a few words, what would you say and how would you say it?

I can almost guarantee you that you’d start with the good stuff: “My boss is easy to talk to, receptive to new ideas, creative…” and then you’d go on to say “BUT he/she lacks technical skills”. No one is perfect, and everyone has some area of weakness or as I like to call it “a development opportunity”.

Now step back for a moment and answer this: How would others describe you?

In my years as a human resources professional within a large investment bank, I came across many candidates and employees who never saw their “but” (or their development opportunity). And those were the people who failed – either they never got hired or if they did, they didn’t last due to poor performance (usually lacking teamwork skills or listening skills).

So let’s go back – what is your BUT? If someone had to describe you, how would they describe you professionally – both the strengths and development opportunities? This exercise will let you see what areas you need to improve upon to grow, strengthen, and advance in your career. It will give you self-awareness. If you are currently looking for a job and have had a hard time finding one after going through many interviews, step back and really think about if you have this sense of self-awareness. Can you see yourself as others see you from the outside? How would you evaluate yourself? The more self-awareness you have, the better you will be at interviewing, performing your day-to-day tasks, and working with others in a team environment. Here are my tips on how to be more self-aware:

– Before answering a question, take a second and think about how you should respond. Don’t rush through your answers. BE HONEST and natural.
– Before speaking up in a meeting or conversation, make sure you are not interrupting someone and make sure your comments are on topic. Be aware of your tone.
– Don’t ramble! Being self-aware also means being able to realize when you’re done speaking.
– When getting dressed for work or for an interview, ask yourself if what you’re wearing is appropriate.
– Are you actually listening to what others are saying?
– Be aware of your surroundings. Recognize the culture and attitude around you and adapt or respect it, as necessary.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being self-aware means you can recognize your shortcomings. Work to strengthen those skills so you won’t need to ask for help again.

-Allison Kolmer, Drum Associates

5 Things to Help You Get Noticed on LinkedIn

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As a recruiter, I use Linkedin every day to search for candidates and to post our jobs. If you’re looking for a job (no matter the level) you should absolutely do these 5 things immediately:

(1) Update your preferences to say “Open to New Opportunities”. No one will see this except those with Linkedin Recruiter access (ie recruiters!). You will get pushed to the top of their searches if you are open to new opportunities
(2) Make your contact information visible – either put your email and/or phone in your profile or upload your resume to your profile. It makes it very easy for us to contact you and you won’t have to worry about missing a Linkedin message
(3) Update your preferences so that you get emails if you get a linkedin message
(4) Make sure your profile is updated. Make it look like your resume and feel free to include a nice summary of who you are so that the recruiter can get to know you a little better before reaching out
(5) I always recommend adding a profile picture. Usually this is a sign that the individual is active on Linkedin

So once your profile is updated what do you do? We encourage you to start building your network. Reach out to fellow alumni, colleagues, former business partners, etc. Get creative with building your network, yet be smart about who you’re asking to connect with. You could land your next job due to one of your connections on Linkedin…you never know! Good luck!

-Allison Kolmer, Drum Associates

Parents re-entering the workforce

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I share interesting articles through social media often but rarely create my own content. With that said, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on a specific topic as it is the source of almost daily inquiries both professionally and personally.
“Parents re-entering the workforce after taking time out of the corporate world to spend time with or raise their children”
My goal is simple; empower and give confidence to one of the many Moms or Dads who is putting back on “corporate attire” after years of those suits being in the back of the closet.
Anyone who has been out of work or has ever looked for employment knows that interviewing and finding the right role is a difficult task and often intimidating. Parents re-entering the workforce often come to me feeling insecure or “unqualified” and it literally breaks my heart.
Please remind yourself of the following when entering your job interview:
– You are a better version of you than prior to children. Remember the confidence you once had in the workplace and understand that you should be 10x more secure now.
– You are constantly learning new skills in an ever changing environment which translates into your ability to adapt when re-entering the workforce.
– Your time management skills are much improved…you can get done in a day what takes most a month.
– You are a multi-tasking expert.
– Your people management skills are far stronger after children.
– Your patience has improved 1000% (even though it might not feel like it) as it is tested daily!
– You’ve learned how to efficiently and effectively “put out fires”.
– You could run circles around office politics now that you have had to deal with your kids “school politics” , “town sports politics”, “child’s friends politics”, “town social scenes”, the list is endless.
– Your “research skills” are at an all- time high.
– Your work ethic has reached a level once unimaginable.
– Let’s not forget perseverance, solution-oriented, perfect attendance record, budgetary responsibilities, board responsibilities, ability to wear “many hats”, ability to operate on little sleep and still operate like the “energizer bunny”, etc.
The list could go on forever SO PLEASE be confident in the invaluable experience you’ve gained as a parent which has enhanced your ability to be a valued employee!
And here’s the bonus….when you rejoin the corporate world in a management role you typically don’t have to ask your team to do things more than 2-3 times before they realize you are speaking to them 🙂

-Carly Drum-O’Neill, Drum Associates

New Package now available: March Sadness

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March Madness has officially turned into March Sadness at Drum Associates. Let me set the scene: Carly Drum, thanks to her husband Mike, has a family that is die-hard for Villanova. Apparently, this passion for Villanova even made its way to Brian Drum, founder of Drum Associates. Allison Kolmer, a Villanova alum who lives right near campus, is an obvious Nova supporter. Then, there is myself, a Duke Basketball alum who knows there is only one shade of blue. March started off exciting amongst the four of us, with the hopes of a possible Villanova/Duke match up in The Garden. Well…that quickly changed when Villanova lost in the first round to the Wisconsin Badgers. Needless to say, 3/4 of us were devastated. But, there was one member of Drum Associates who thought that March Madness looked a bit easier for the Blue Devils, but boy was I wrong. Duke shortly fell to South Carolina in their second-round match up. With all four of us being career coaches, Drum Associates may need to think about offering a new coaching package dedicated to all the other grieving fans out there whose team lost unexpectedly early. To all of our grieving fans, visit our website and look for the package titled “March Sadness” and if you can’t find that one, please take a look at the other packages we offer ! Also, feel free to tweet at us @DrumAssociates sharing your thoughts/biggest upsets in the tournament so far! #MarchMadness or #MarchSadness

-Tricia Liston, Drum Associates

Drum Family

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Part Three of blog series by Tricia Liston discussing her path from moving on from her athletic career to a corporate career.

Drum Associates has been a family run business since it started in 1967. It was made very apparent upon joining the Drum team that this was the case. Both Brian Drum and his daughter Carly, pride themselves in being family oriented while still being successful. Over the years, they have established a company that is based on trust, strong work ethic and excellence. Brian and Carly have not only led the way by example, but surrounded themselves with a team that shares the same principles and desire to succeed through helping others. All of the people at Drum genuinely enjoy what they do and who they do it with. With so much knowledge and experience in the business world, career coaching was something the Drums do naturally. Carly, Brian and other members of Drum Associates have started a division within the company dedicated to helping coach people in their careers. This is something that all of the coaches are passionate about doing because it gives us the chance to work with individuals, build personal relationships and see real progress in their clients’ career. Being a part of helping others succeed is something that Drum Associates is very proud of.

-Tricia Liston, Drum Associates

Duke to WNBA to Drum

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Part Two of blog series by Tricia Liston discussing her path from moving on from her athletic career to a corporate career.

Once I had officially proclaimed that I was finished with basketball, I was at ease with myself and felt confident in my decision. By no means am I saying everything was easy and perfect, but, the stress and guilt were put behind me and I knew I had to find my next challenge. For me, this meant a summer off to clear my mind. Summer quickly ended and I became bored, which is a common emotion amongst athletes. I was ready to find out what I wanted to face next. After days of googling random things, I remembered an article my dad sent me during my senior year at Duke. It was about a successful business woman who loved and appreciated Division I athletes and thought that they make great hires after their athletic careers. It described a strong woman who was comfortable in a position of power and a woman who was paving her own way in the world of business. Her name was Carly Drum. I got in touch with Carly, and from that point on, she has been a mentor to me. Every conversation we had, I could hear the passion and excitement that she had for her line of work. Throughout our many conversations, she made my future seem less scary and I felt I finally had a new sense of direction. She helped me display my talents and skills effectively on my resume. She taught me how to really show and vocalize how my athletic experience has set me up for a successful future. I learned many things solely by listening to her background, experience and work ethic. These conversations with Carly gave me an insight of what it takes and how to achieve the most in my career. After forming a relationship with Carly, I was lucky enough to be able to join her team at Drum Associates.

-Tricia Liston, Drum Associates

The Question Everyone Wanted to Know

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Drum Associates’ new blog series by Tricia Liston discussing her path from moving on from her athletic career to a corporate career.

“Are you still playing basketball?” (I have played basketball my whole life, 24 years; at Duke and professionally in the WNBA as well as overseas.) In the last year, this was a question that I could not go a day without hearing. It’s a question I had heard my whole life, but it was particularly hard and confusing for me to hear it this past year. I, in my head, had decided that I was officially done playing basketball but had not moved on to another job nor had I declared this decision out loud. Looking back on it, I think it was because I was not sure how people would react. What would they say? What would they think of me? Would people close to me be angry? So, every time I heard the question, I would beat around the bush. Basketball was all I knew and I had no idea what came next. It was such a confusing time for me as it is for all other athletes who eventually move on in their lives away from their respective sports. There are so many emotions and thoughts that go through our heads. After all, we are putting something behind us that we dedicated our whole life to up until this very moment. Everyone comes to a point in their lives where they make a huge life decision or a pivotal change in their career path and it is one of the most difficult and intimidating things in life. There is no way around it but I have come to learn that the most powerful thing you can do is to be confident in yourself and your decisions and to keep moving forward.

-Tricia Liston, Drum Associates

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